Northcote School (Christchurch) - 28/08/2019

School Context

Northcote is a Year 1-6 state school with a roll of 134 children. The roll is culturally diverse. It includes an increasing number of children who are English language learners (ELLs) and 67 children who identify as Māori. The school’s mission is together we grow, learn succeed, mahi tahi, ako and whānaunatanga and tino rangatirotanga. The vision is “to champion confident, connected and resilient learners, who stretch to achieve their highest potential”. The school’s values are cooperation, attitude, respect and effort (CARE).

The school’s strategic aims are to ensure:

  • all students are successfully accessing the New Zealand Curriculum

  • all students are achieving educational success, with pride through their unique identity and culture

  • all whānau are empowered to support learning.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress of charter target students in reading, writing, mathematics, wellbeing and engagement.

A new principal and SENCO have been recently appointed to the leadership team. The school has been involved in collaborations with the Ministry of Education to improve student engagement and to raise student achievement.

The school is a member of the Totaranui Kāhui Ako |Community of Learning (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

End of 2018 school-wide achievement information shows that approximately half of the students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading and writing. Close to two-thirds were achieving these expectations in mathematics. Mid-2019 data indicates improved school-wide achievement in reading.

Māori students achieve slightly better than others in literacy and mathematics. Pacific students achieve at similar levels to their peers. Mid-2019 data for reading and writing shows that English Language Learners (ELLs) achieved at similar levels to their peers in reading and writing, but less well in mathematics.

There is a disparity in the achievement of girls in mathematics and for boys in writing. Over 2018 and 2019, these disparities have begun to reduce.

Wellbeing survey information indicates that students like their school, feel safe, and believe that their teachers care about them.

ERO was unable to evaluate achievement trends over the last three years as there is insufficient reliable achievement information for 2016 or 2017.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school had variable success in accelerating the progress of Māori and other students who need this.

In 2018, at least half of the 24 students in a target group to lift achievement in mathematics made accelerated progress. Māori and Pacific rates of accelerated progress were similar to others in this group. A small number of Māori and other target students made accelerated progress in reading.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Children participate and learn in a very caring and inclusive environment. Relationships are respectful, and difference and diversity are valued. The school has shown a strong commitment to implementing and developing the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) framework There is a school-wide focus on supporting the holistic wellbeing of children and engaging their families and whānau in learning-centred partnerships. There is an increasing involvement of parents, whānau and the wider community in school activities.

The school proactively builds relationships beyond the school to best meet the needs and aspirations of its students. The school is working effectively with local Māori and iwi to build culturally responsive practices. Close links have been established with external experts, agencies and local groups to provide additional support for children who need this, and to enrich opportunities for all children to enjoy a sense of belonging and connection to their school community.

New leadership is driving well-considered change and improvement. Leaders have implemented effective systems, policies and practices that are designed to support teaching and learning. Leaders are fostering a collaborative and collective responsibility for sustaining wellbeing and lifting student achievement. They are making effective use of internal and external expertise to build teacher capacity.

Leaders are building very effective evaluation and inquiry practices. They have implemented systematic evaluation of teaching and learning and school systems, which is leading to well informed next steps for improvement. Improved analysis of schoolwide achievement information is informing priorities for school improvement.

Trustees show a strong commitment to improving student achievement and wellbeing. They consult widely and use external expertise well to inform strategic priorities that are designed to improve student outcomes. Trustees are maintaining a strategic focus on building culturally responsive practices and a genuine partnership with Māori.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

There are currently variable teaching and learning practices across the school. In mathematics, these are being systematically addressed through targeted professional learning and development. It is now time to strengthen teaching and learning practices in literacy to lift student achievement and address variability in teaching practices.

Curriculum design and guidelines related to expectations for teaching are not yet complete. The school needs to continue to review and develop the school’s curriculum guidelines across all learning areas to make clear the expectations of effective pedagogy and to confirm how the curriculum will reflect the local context.

Current student achievement targets do not encompass all students who need to make accelerated progress. It would be timely for school leaders to extend targets to include all students below expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics, and extend reporting to include rates/sufficiency of progress.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Northcote School (Christchurch)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • pastoral care systems which respond to student’s needs, promote their wellbeing and supports their learning success
  • leadership which is showing a strong commitment to improving student achievement and wellbeing
  • community collaborations which enrich opportunities to enhance student learning and engagement.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • improving outcomes for all students, to achieve equity for all groups and raise levels of achievement overall
  • effective teaching practice to reduce variability across the school
  • extending targets to include all students below expected levels to monitor rates/sufficiency of progress more closely


ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education considers continuing its support for the school in order to bring about further improvements in the quality of teaching to raise student achievement.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

28 August 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

State contributing Years 1-6

School roll


Gender composition

Girls- 65 Boys- 68

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori 33%

NZ European/Pākeha 41%

Pacific 10%

Filipino 8%

Other 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

28 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2017

Education Review August 2013